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Important Soil and Yard Development Terms

Before beginning any lawn and garden improvement project, it is important to understand the different types of materials you may need. It is essential to buy the right kind of soil, fertilizer, and protective groundcover. Knowledge of the different planting materials available will help you succeed. Below are seven terms to be familiar with before you tackle any lawn or garden development project.

  • Topsoil – Nutrient rich soil used in lawn and garden development. Sometimes referred to as potting soil, topsoil is key for growing indoor plants as well.
  • Mulch – Rocks, woodchips, and other organic material used to create a protective layer on top of soil. Mulch prevents weeds from growing, defends against soil erosion, and locks in moisture.
  • Compost – Organic material that has been broken down and recycled for use as a fertilizer. Compost is often mixed with soil to make for a more fertile growing material.
  • Peat – Decomposed plant material that retains moisture and stores nutrients, aiding plant growth.
  • Turf – A thin layer of dirt and grass attached at the roots. Turf, also known as sod, is typically sold in rolls or squares and can be used to develop an even and attractive lawn quickly.
  • Artificial Turf – Synthetic grass commonly used in sporting venues. Artificial turf has become increasingly popular in residential areas in the South and Southwest because it requires minimal maintenance and no irrigation.
  • Fill – Dirt used for leveling holes or altering the elevation in a yard. Fill is used in backyard projects like building ponds, pools, or patios.
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    Dirt Cheap Delivered
    9620 Dale Ave., Sunland, CA 91040
    Providing topsoil, decomposed granite, fill dirt, washed plaster sand, fill sand, gravel, pea gravel, wood chips, sod, and more for your landscaping and gardening needs. We deliver the materials directly to your house or construction site, and accept credit cards.
    (866) 731-7287
    Bourget Bros Building Materials
    1636 11th St, Santa Monica, CA 90404
    Our original building material yard featuring pebbles, bulk gravel, crushed colored glass, cast concrete, lumber, ceramic, pebble, and saltillo tiles, manufactured wallrock.
    (310) 450-6556
    Aguinaga Green Inc
    27912 Baker Canyon Rd, Silverado, CA 92676
    We receive clean green waste from landscapers and tree trimmers and recycle it into organic mulches, soil amendments, planting mixes, seed toppers and custom blends. Save the landfills...recycle.
    (714) 649-9050
    Schmidt A E Co
    14212 Lang Station Rd, Canyon Country, CA 91387
    (323) 875-1434
    C & M Top Soil
    12101 Lopez Canyon Rd, Sylmar, CA 91342
    (818) 899-5485
    Soil & Sod Depot The
    12437 Osborne St, Pacoima, CA 91331
    (818) 686-6445
    Valley Sod Farm Inc
    16405 Chase St, North Hills, CA 91343
    (818) 892-7258
    Valley Sod Farm Inc.
    16405 Chase St, North Hills, CA 91343
    (855) 424-4224
    Lincoln Avenue Nursery
    804 Lincoln Ave, Pasadena, CA 91103
    (626) 792-2138
    Chatsworth Nursery Landscape
    10538 Topanga Canyon Blvd, Chatsworth, CA 91311
    (818) 341-5600
    George L Throop Co
    444 N Fair Oaks Ave, Pasadena, CA 91103
    (626) 796-0285
    Organic Soil Bends
    Burbank, CA 91503
    (818) 807-1907
    Cal Blend Soils Inc
    1270 Arrow Hwy Ste A, Baldwin Park, CA 91706
    (626) 359-1083
    Cal Blend Soils & Amendments
    13530 Live Oak Ln, Baldwin Park, CA 91706
    (800) 425-3631
    American Soil
    1450 Tierra Rejada Rd, Simi Valley, CA 93065
    (805) 578-0052


    Topsoil is the uppermost layer of dirt. Although topsoil occurs naturally, it can take hundreds of years just to produce a couple inches of organic material that is rich enough nutrients to support flowers, crops, grasses, and other plants. Nursery centers, therefore, sell topsoil products consisting of dirt and compost. The mixture is used to farm crops, improve flower gardens, and create landscapes. Since gardening and farm suppliers often make their own version of topsoil, they can include specific mixtures of mulch, compost, dirt, and other organic materials. Certain combinations supply needed nutrients to various types of flowers and crops. Using the right topsoil, therefore, makes it easier for gardeners to grow healthy plants that produce abundant fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Recent combinations specifically made for lawns include grass seed in nutrient-rich dirt. This combination makes it possible for homeowners to grow lush lawns that resist erosion and drought. Those that do not contain any synthetic fertilizers might also be labeled as organic or sustainable, because they do not have chemicals that can damage the environment. Before choosing topsoil for your garden or landscape, contact a nursery to help you decide which option is best for your plants. Many nursery supply companies have websites where you can learn about the different types of products that they sell. Look for options that meet your specific needs. Some websites also provide information about how much water and additional nutrients that you should give your plants. The end result is often an improved lawn, turf, or garden that contains rich compost instead of dirt that has already lost its nutrients.
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